“Her blood pressure is getting dangerously low.  She is not going to hang on much longer.  Hurry up! We need to get her into the operation room quick!”  The doctor urgently hustled the nurses who were trying to get me ready for surgery.

“We are waiting for blood from the blood bank,” replied one of the nurses.

I glanced at the monitor:  the green line that tracked my blood pressure had a steep drop and was flattening out.  The pain was becoming unbearable.  It felt like there was an earthquake inside me, every bone was cracking and every muscle stretched beyond its limit.   Is this it for me?  Am I going to die after all that I have been through tonight?  I didn’t really get a chance to say good-bye to my beloved Joe and Jane and Michelle who mean everything to me.  My babies are going to grow up without their mommy.  Tears welled up in my eyes and rolled down my cheeks.  I am not afraid of dying.  But if I have a choice in this matter, God, I choose to live.  I want to grow old with Joe and I want to see my girls grow up.

“Linda, I need you to stay awake.  Don’t fall asleep.  Stay with me.”  This was my doctor’s voice.  “How old are you, Linda?”  He tried again to keep me awake.  “thirrrty-ssssixx,” I mumbled.  Everything, the nurses hovering over me, the illuminating lamps, the machine with the green line and the doctor standing next to me started to become a blur before my eyes.   If I die today, at least the pain will stop.  I will be in heaven with God.  It will be hard for my family, but everything will be okay.  Joe will take care of the girls.  They will figure out a way to move on without me.  I drifted away, fading into the unconsciousness ……


“Linda, wake up.  It is time to wake up, Linda”.  I slowly opened my eyes.  Where am I? Am I in heaven?  Are the angels calling me to come in?  I tried to move my legs, but was immediately reminded of the pain my earthly body was experiencing.  I CAN’T be in heaven because there is no pain, either physical or emotional, in heaven.  I didn’t die.  I am ALIVE!  As the room slowly came into focus, I saw a very neat middle-aged woman with an angelic voice and short blond hair leaning over me, a gentle smile on her face.  She wore an ocean-blue cotton smock with brown teddy bears all over it.  The blue color gave me a sense of serenity.  The teddy bears were welcoming me back with open arms and chubby legs.  I still remember the nurse’s sweet comforting voice, the voice that awakened me from a deep sleep and brought me back to this world.

It was still dark although the morning light was trying to break through.  The atmosphere was extraordinarily quiet and tranquil.  One could hear a pin drop.  I found myself lying on a hospital bed with needles stuck in both my arms and machines hooked to my body.  The room looked familiar. It was big but felt empty.  There were a few metal cabinets by the wall and some medical instruments scattered around.  The smell of bleach soaked the air.

“I am very cold”, I murmured to the nurse in a faint voice that could barely be heard.

“I can do something about that”.  She opened one of the cabinets and quickly took out a few more blankets and wrapped me up in them.  Immediately my shivering body gained heat from the added covers.

“What time is it?”  I asked.

“It’s seven am.  Your surgery lasted more than five hours.  Now you’re in the recovery room”.

The kind nurse handed me a small rubber balloon and said “if you feel pain, just squeeze this.  The morphine drips will flow into your blood and ease the pain.”

Her hands felt soft and warm.  She folded my swollen fingers around the rubber balloon as if she was sure I would need it soon. All of a sudden I recalled that last night, my husband and daughters accompanied me to the Hinsdale hospital emergency room.

“Where is my husband?”  I asked anxiously, yearning to see him and the girls.  They must have had been so worried about me.  I could still see the panic on Jane and Michelle’s innocent faces in the emergency room last night amidst all of the chaos and commotion.  In the twenty years I had known Joe, he had never come as close to losing it as yesterday.  His gaze was so solemn and full of concern as if he were going to lose something essential to his life.

“He is in the waiting room.  He and your daughters have been there all night.  We’ll call him and tell him you are awake and on your way to your room.”

As I lay on the bed being pushed to my ward, I looked up and saw the nurse’s ocean-blue uniform like a backdrop above my head.  The experience of the last three weeks was like sailing in the calm sea on a sunny day and suddenly being thrown into a fierce storm and forced to fight for my life.  Life has a strange way of changing its course unexpectedly.

My bed turned into a long hallway with a window at the very end.  As we approached the window, I was amazed to see the bright sun light finally shining through.  I am rescued. I made it through the shipwreck, barely in one piece, but I survived!  It sure is good to be back.  Thank you God! I will love and enjoy my family everyday and I am going to serve you for the rest of my life!

I gave the little balloon a hard squeeze.